After an appropriate interval of several days, my father reluctantly issued his opinion: Not very good. He was polite and sweet and politic, but as honest as a parent should be. My pickles were not very good. Not the right texture, not very much flavor. Obviously, I was disappointed. “But Daddy, I did everything right, just like the recipe. Can they really be that bad.” Yes, they were. And then he asked me: “PC, do you even like pickles?”
Hmmm. I had to admit to myself, and of course to him, that no, I don’t particularly like pickles. This is not something that occurred to me before I embarked on this mission. Why, I will never know. I had spent hours and dollars fulfilling this nonsensical image of myself as a prairie house wife (I live no where near a prairie by the way), “putting things by.” The failed pickles were disposed of, the jars washed and used to hold flowers, the pantry shelf eventually filled with canned goods. My prairie housewife days were over.
Some years later, one friend complemented another on the great pickles she’d made. I immediately jumped on her. “How do you make pickles? I’ve always wanted to do that but failed miserably!!” My generous friend explained that she just used her grandmother’s old method that’s in tons of old-fashioned community cookbooks. It uses already made commercial pickles and they are stored in the fridge. I had to try, and with a little research, her vague guidelines and a lot of faith, I came up with my own super-simple version.
My Dad loves them; they are a hit with all my friends. Hey, I even like them. So as I enjoy a new summer in my house, having completed a patio renovation complete with super-grill and outdoor dining room, I am ready to grill up some burgers, served with a bowl of homemade pickles on the side.
Sweet Garlic Refrigerator Pickles
This recipe starts with a gallon jar of pickles, which divides up into many smaller jars (4 quarts, or a combination of smaller sizes.) I start the summer with a gallon jar, because the cleaned and dishwashered pickle jar is absolutely the best vessel for mixing iced tea. You can also use a quart jar of pickles, which will make three pint jars, and adjust the sugar accordingly.